Children & Youth at St Timothy’s
At St. Timothy’s we believe that the Christian faith is a lifelong journey of growth and discovery.
Sunday School Update:
Introducing “The Art of Golden Rule” Program
I am excited to announce the upcoming changes to our Sunday School pedagogy and mode of program delivery. We are shifting the focus of children’s education sessions from didactic teaching to arts-based integrative projects, and hoping to invite parishioners and neighbours into one program that would provide socio-emotional and extra-curricular benefits to all children. I am not aware of any such initiative in the Diocese of Toronto, which makes it interesting and experimental. What this means for our kids in the immediate future is as follows:
1) The children’s message component of our main church service becomes the only time of children’s direct instruction, delivered by the clergy and occasional guests.
2) The remainder of the programming – 1 hour that runs in parallel with the main service – consists of interpretation of this message through various art media (drama, visual, creative movement, music, etc.), delivered by professionals specializing in teaching specific art forms to the children. Different professionals will be hired to deliver instruction in various art forms, and the focus will be on one art medium at a time.
3) The program will be delivered in blocks focusing on one art form at a time, and corresponding to the liturgical seasons, with the goal of sharing a “product” with the congregation at the end of each block (e.g., performing a play, or installing a work of art, or contributing to worship through music or poetry, etc.)
4) The main goal of the 1 hour children’s program that takes place outside the main service is to cultivate the Golden Rule values that are shared among most cultures of the world, and help the children to think through how they might apply them in real life situations. The exposure to scriptural narratives thus becomes implicit (though certainly present), while the focus on character development is explicit.
5) The programming is meant to be welcoming both to the current parishioners and to the neighbourhood families with no religious interest or background. Thus, it is both a form of outreach/hospitality, and education. The way this will be balanced is that the children of families new to the church, or for the time being not interested in the explicit teachings of the church, may be dropped off directly into the program, rather than hearing the children’s message as part of the service. Their parents will be able to choose whether to remain at church, do some work or relax with a coffee in the Parlour, or return for their children after one hour.
Our first adventure will take place over Lent. The children will write a play that interprets the passage from Phillippians 2:3-11 under the guidance of an educational acting provider from the company called Sparx. Sparx specializes in fostering children’s social-emotional skills through acting. The goal of the current block will be for the children to reflect on and apply in daily life situations Jesus’ stance of self-giving. They will be guided to design the play that will respond to the following real-life difficulties that most families encounter: compromising while preserving integrity, not bickering over petty things, generally being less selfish, and fostering the idea of sometimes giving up a sense “of being right” for the sake of forgiveness and peace.
The Rev. Irina Dubinski
Youth Group: Please email the office (firstname.lastname@example.org) for current information on the Youth Group.